PEr FYI

February 17, 2019

Ee Ji Ban, Melaka…a pleasant surprise

Ask someone to name a typical Melaka food and even a Singaporean will likely suggest chicken ball rice. (otherwise also known as chicken rice ball): fragrant chicken rice you know and love shaped into cute little golf ball sizes. In the entire state of Melaka, only one is halal certified – Ee Ji Ban.

Although I’m generally not a fan of halal Chinese food, I was pleasantly surpised and impressed with the excellent flavor and texture of the rice and dishes. It was busy and almost full when we arrived for dinner which we took to be a good sign. In addition to chicken rice balls, the menu offers nyonya delicacies. The sambal sotong (squid cooked in chili paste) is a crowd-pleaser if you fancy something with extra heat.

It is official, and who knew it: halal chicken rice ball is a thing. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 16, 2019

Habitat by Honestbee, Singapore…the future of dining – for better or for worse

Singapore’s food and beverage scene has entered a new era of hitech gizmos and geekery that’s about to revolutionise dining out. Habitat is a beautiful sight to behold. Menu-wise it’s a moderately predictable but decently executed list of dependable pan-Asian and western dishes. Technology-wise, it’s remarkably unique.

Your entire journey in the restaurant is fully machine-automated. You place your orders through your mobile phones. You will be notified via the app once your food is ready. Then, just collect your food and enjoy!

You’ll find the char siew noodles at Char checks all the boxes (look at it in all its saucy glory). The Tiger Beer Battered Fish & Chips – Haddock is further reasons to be cheerful – delicate golden batter, succulent fish, breaking the surface was like piercing the lid on a perfect crème brûlée. The Little Neck Clams And Bacon Linguine is a very classic one, too. Bacon and pasta, I mean, do I really need to go into it? Let’s just say this little bowl of delicious can make you happy. Poofy Pancakes – a trio of large, fluffy soft, pillowy gluten-free pancakes is a thumbs up. I leave feeling giddy, as if I have spent the afternoon inhaling candyfloss.

In addition to dining, it is also the convenience store of the future. No lines, no cash registers, and no checking out. You just grab what you want, and you … go. It will not be long before the hypermarkets wake up one day and wonder what it in the hell it was that hit them.

It’s probably the future of retail and dining. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 10, 2019

Abe, Manila…a bit meh

It’s fair to say Filipino cuisine is not on the map internationally. The food is a medley between Malay, Chinese, South American and Spanish. In short it’s a mixture of cuisines from any country who has invaded or attempted to colonise the islands.

For everything under one roof, Abe serves up a hearty (sometimes hefty) array of traditional Pinoy fare from biringhe to knockout knuckles – Ang Hang take on the traditional fried crispy pata to sugpo sa gata – prawn simmered in coconut milk and spices. I ate these things on your behalf. I know. I am selfless.

But I’ve had more inspiring food – character, taste – from a bag of nuts. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 2, 2019

Bon Ton Restaurant, Langkawi…living on past glory

It’s with a nod toward reality that one realizes Bon Ton Restaurant in Langkawi isn’t as good as it should be.

Everything we ordered ranges from vaguely acceptable to properly naff. Others are forgettable that we eat it without it even registering. The desserts are spectacularly inept. The Local Dessert Plate, unfortunately, are even worse: everything on that plate is simply nasty.

Putting it bluntly, this Bon Ton has none of the charm of the days gone by. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 26, 2019

Yin Ji, Singapore…the rice rolls leave you wanting more

Yin Ji is the kind of Chinese restaurant that feels like it’s been around for ever. In fact it originates from Guangzhou in 1958.

The rice roll (chang fen) are the stars of the show at this unpretentious joint on the corner of Far East Square. The signature fresh prawn egg roll is packed with fresh filling, the casing of my plump, sweet prawn number achieved the perfect balance between elasticity and translucency – a rice roll Holy Grail.

Yin Ji is by no means cheap, but it is worth every dollar and more. So, in the name of sanity, go. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 19, 2019

Mantin original Coconut Shake, Seremban…Your body will thank you

In the searing heat and humidity of Malaysia, coconut shake — both refreshing and a smart choice for long, sun-baked afternoons — are moving into wide circulation.

Creamy, fragrant and refreshing, this drink is the perfect thirst quencher and body cooler. The flavor profile for coconut shake completely changes depending on the sweetener or ice cream. At Mantin, it’s the true-and-tested dosage of vanilla.

When coconut is in abundance, this is a great way to use it. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 13, 2019

Islamic Restaurant, Singapore…Come for the biryani

Islamic Restaurant specialises in the humble biryani, one of the world’s great rice dishes. It is rightly deserving of its place as Singapore’s Class 95’s Foodie’s Choice for ‘Best Nasi Biryani’ as recommended and voted by their listeners.

Islamic Restaurant is unassuming from the outside but inside the décor is grander than I’d expected of a briyani shop which is nearly a century old. There’s a distinctly homely feel. Of course, the biryanis are what it’s all about and there’s the choice between chicken, lamb, fish and veg varieties. The lamb shank is full of fantastically light, fragrant and fluffy rice the rice, nicely balanced spices and the meat itself is cooked to the ideal point where teeth aren’t entirely required to eat with. I have had better biryani in India but this was certainly a very capable version.

Bring a crew. Bring your parents. All in all, you’d be dumb not to go. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 12, 2019

Restoran Boat Noodle, Melaka…a terrible waste of time

Restoran Boat Noodle isn’t good. It’s a terrible waste of their money and our money and everybody’s time.

Wondering if I’m being very Singaporean by complaining about this place? It starts with the smallest thing. The food is nothing special. It just manages not to be actively offensive. The ‘courses’ are indeed micromini portions. The wait time for the food was incredibly long that I almost died of old age. Only to realise I was serve the wrong dish. Apparently they didn’t have the one I ordered and they took the liberty to prepare something else for me…without checking nor informing.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but this place sucks. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 6, 2019

Brotzeit, Singapore…excels at the classics

German food is heavy, starchy and often bland — yet people love it. Brotzeit is a haven for German food lovers year-round.

The most impressive entree was the crispy oven-roasted pork knuckle – oven-roasted hind shank of grain-fed pork, marinated for 24 hours with premium draught beer, massaged with proprietary spice mix to achieve a juicy meat and crispy crackling skin. Served with sauerkraut and potato salad. Another hit was the grilled pork sausages – a firm German favourite, and one of Brotzeit’s signature dishes, the sausages are hearty and packed with flavour. It came with mashed potato and sauerkraut. The standout dessert was the dessert medley – the perfect sweet ending to share, the dessert platter includes an Apple Strudel, Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Crème Brule, and Lemon Crème. Comes with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and red seedless grapes.

Brotzeit is doing more for Germany’s public image in Singapore than even its footballers. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 5, 2019

Nuer Koo, Bangkok…has beef noodles like no one else in Bangkok

There are other beef noodle shops in Bangkok, but there is nothing quite like Nuer Koo (pronounce ‘Nua Kooh’).

I opted for medium sliced kobe beef quickly dipped in broth. The soul-stirring soup is deceptively mild at first, gaining carnality with each spoonful but never growing too forceful. It manages to be light and clean on the palate, with a straightforward beefiness that doesn’t linger too long. It comes with rough cuts of gorgeously marbled beef, putting up gentle resistance. The noodles have an integrity and chew you might associate with good Italian pasta.

I’m calling the beef noodle soup here a BUY. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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